A Child's Introduction to Art: The World's Greatest Paintings and Sculptures Hardcover – Illustrated, 20 May 2014
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An all-too-brief introduction to art for the younger set.
Alexander and Hamilton have previously teamed up on titles in the wonderfully accessible and affordable A Child's Introduction to… series. This lively and kidcentric entry highlights 40 big names, mostly European and male artists (Michelangelo, Pierre-Auguste Monet, Diego Velázquez, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, etc.), in a series of two-page spreads grouped thematically. The book's handsome design captivates with an inviting cover and appealing 10-inch square trim. Though very heavy on the classics of European painting and sculpture, Alexander's accessible and readable text effectively combines with Hamilton's fluid, ink-and-watercolor vignettes and well-chosen reproductions of "signature" works. Further enlivened by intriguing, informative sidebars on theory, movements and techniques, it also features many related hand-on projects. A few very small nods of recognition to Asian, ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, African and Native American art are offered―though at 96 pages one could hardly expect an inclusive, definitive resource. And it is light on diversity: Mary Cassatt is the only woman receiving a two-page spread, and Jacob Lawrence is the sole African-American painter. But then the only other Americans among this artistic Top 40 are Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.
Limited scope notwithstanding, this is terrific for browsing, thinking, dreaming and art-making. (index, timeline, removable coloring sheets) (Nonfiction. 9-14)
About the Author
Meredith Hamilton graduated from Brown University and has an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Formerly an art director at Newsweek and Time, she illustrated the previous six books in the Child's Introduction series, among other books, and her work can be found in magazines and animations as well. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and three children.
Heather Alexander has written numerous books for children and young adults including previous titles in this series, A Child's Introduction to the World and A Child's Introduction to Greek Mythology. She is a former children's book editor and lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Here are just two: The Bayeaux Tapestry was not the “only” significant work of art of the medieval period. What about the Carolingian Renaissance or the stained glass of the 12th-14th centuries?
Secondly, Salvador Dali did not “discover” Surrealism. I don’t even know where to begin in refuting that one, but suffice it to say that it’s flat out wrong. Simplifying complex concepts for children should not result in telling them complete falsehoods.
In many cases the author uses cartoonish line drawings to depict representational concepts where he could have used the art itself. This is disappointing, and I found myself having to look up photos of examples (such as the profile renderings of people in Egyptian art) in order to show my child what the author was talking about.
This book represents a good idea that could have been executed much more effectively than it was. Disappointing.